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NASA lands at library July 16

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

“This is a great one for anybody who's got interest in space exploration.”

Anne Arundel County Public Library’s communication manager, Christine Feldmann made

Christine Feldmann

that statement when reflecting on the new Perseverance rover event coming up at the virtual library Thursday, July 16 at 7 pm through Zoom. She is enthusiastic to be working with NASA again.

“We're thrilled to be partnering with NASA on this event and to have the experts, the people who are doing the work--boots on the ground--being able to not only not only talk to our customers, but to answer questions,” she said. “We're really trying to step up our virtual programs (as we) are not able to offer in branch programs right now

Feldmann said past NASA events have often been standing-room-only. There are slots left to attend the presentation through AACPL registration. Sign up here.

The next Mars rover mission, Perseverance, may be a round trip and is planned to launch between the end of this month and mid-August. The new Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

A deputy program manager of the Perseverance mission, Dr. Adrian Brown--is expected to

Adrian Brown

talk about the Jezero crater, the MARS helicopter, the Supercam laser system, as well as how the samples on Mars will be collected and returned here to Earth by 2031. The presentation is expected to take about an hour. Dr. Brown will tell residents all about the ground-breaking (literally and figuratively) mission via the Zoom video-conferencing platform.

“It's really a great opportunity for people to learn more about the mission to Mars in a way that stays comfortable and it's appropriate for teens and adults," Feldmann said. "And we've got about 250 seats remaining in our program.”

She said the presentation may also be a good opportunity for younger children to attend, although parents may want to come along with their kids to explore any questions they may have.

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration has previously sponsored astronauts to come to the county library to speak and the federal agency also has a relationship supporting the local library system’s fall STEM festival.

“So this is a natural extension of our partnership and our good relationship with NASA,” Feldmann said.

Anne Arundel County Public Library buildings reopened to the public with some limitations. Buildings are now open Monday through Thursday 10 am to 7 pm and Friday and Saturday 10 am to 5 pm. Curbside service--which has had 14,000 pickups since starting--remains available Monday through Thursday 3 pm to 6 pm and Friday and Saturday 10 am until noon.

Current limitations at the library buildings require some new protocols. Sometimes folks arriving may find they need to wait for previous patrons to exit a building before they may enter due to social distancing requirements, Feldmann said.

But she indicated both library patrons and staff have been happy to get back to their local library buildings again. In-person library events have been suspended for now because conference rooms are needed to store returned materials that undergo a 72-hour quarantine.

But that hasn’t stopped residents’ enthusiasm for being back among the books.

“People are excited the to be back at the branches and to see the staff,” Feldmann said,”A big thing that the staff reported to me was that they're getting lots of ‘We're really happy to see you.’ and ‘Thank you for all you've done and for opening,’ (comments from patrons). You know, there are always a few people who are not wanting to wear masks. But overwhelmingly people aren't compliant and friendly and understanding and just happy to be back.”